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An Inverted Doughnut is Your Model for Change

Core and periphery structures are perfect models for times of change. Unlike the hierarchy that is slow to change, the core and periphery model is perfectly suited to change. Imagine a nucleus with a fixed atom and a flexible surround. Or an inverted doughnut with the yummy stuff in the middle and the hole on the outside. The core is safe and necessary. The surround is unrestricted and fluid. Now apply this to every aspect of your organisation and you have an excellent model for managing change.

Here are 7 examples of the model.

Cores and Peripheries: 1. Managing and Leading

Managers manage the core aspects of organisational life, such as policies, rules, and standards. They keep the organisation going. Leaders create the extras that take the organisation into new territory where it can excel, such as added value, outstanding service, and employees who go beyond the call of duty to deliver. Managers are at the core, leaders are at the edge.

Cores and Peripheries: 2. Ourselves

For far too long, workplaces only asked us for the bits of ourselves that they could measure: our existing skills, our manual labour, our time-clocked presence. In times of change, they need much more: our brains and creativity; our principles and values; our hearts and souls. What is measurable is at the core; what is unmeasurable potential is at the edge.

Cores and Peripheries: 3. Jobs

In every job, there are things that have to be done and things that don't. The things that have to be done form the core of the job. They are dull but necessary. The things that don't have to be done but make the difference are the added values at the edge, exciting, exhilirating, and extra-ordinary.

Cores and Peripheries: 4. Control

There are two kinds of control in organisations: those at the core which come from the boss and which everyone has to follow. They are governed by the company's discipline. The other kind of control comes from personal drivers, such as pride in one's work, self-esteem, and a sense of responsibility. They are governed by personal respect.

Cores and Peripheries: 5. Teams

Everyone at work has two teams. The first team is the official group you belong to. They're at your core. The second team are the people you turn to when you need them, those who will help you out in a crisis. They may be friends, mentors, relatives, colleagues from way back, role models, even people in your head. They are your inspiration.

Cores and Peripheries: 6. Customers

To succeed in times of change, you must give your customers two kinds of experience. At the core of the relationship, you must give them the minimum they expect - the right product, at the right time, in the right place, at the right cost. But to keep them for life, you must also go one step further and give them an experience they'll never forget.

Cores and Peripheries: 7. Learning

In a change-responsive organisation, there are two ways to teach and learn. At the core, everyone needs to know what the organisation stands for, its unchanging principles and values. People need to be told. At the edge, but still tied to the core, people need to learn how to soar and fly. They need to be empowered.

Managing cores and peripheries is the new challenge for managers. Not just the needs of the cores but also the opportunities at the edge. When you can do both well at the same time, you will have discovered the art of change management.

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